President Obama on Tuesday urged Americans to unite after a fiercely fought campaign, turning his victory speech into a declaration of hope that the country can still solve its biggest problems despite partisan differences.
“Because we are not as divided as our politics suggests,” the president said before a raucous audience of thousands in Chicago. “We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America and together with your help and God's grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on earth.”
It was a speech that recalled some of the lofty and hopeful rhetoric that marked Obama’s rise in politics but had been absent during his re-election campaign. He reminded his supporters of the frustration that often marked his first term in office but told them the lessons learned had hardened him for the battles to come.
“I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us, so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting,” Obama said. “America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class.”
Obama also said he would reach out to Republicans, mentioning four specific areas in which the two parties could find common ground: reducing the deficit, reforming the tax code, fixing the immigration system, and reducing the countries reliance of foreign oil.